Stress and anxiety have become so common in today’s society that we seem to forget it’s not typical. Stress is supposed to be a momentary reaction to the perception of danger – not a chronic condition.
According to research from the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S. More than 40 million adults are impacted, which accounts for 18 percent of the population.
The good news is that stress and anxiety disorders are highly treatable. The problem is that most people go untreated or simply start popping prescription medication.
Try These 5 Methods
If you suffer from chronic stress and anxiety, it’s important that you recognize the problem and attempt to tackle it head on. You should meet with a doctor to discuss your options, but be wary of medication. Before going that route, you should try the following healthy tips and tricks.
- Deal With the Underlying Problem(s)
A lot of people try to combat stress and anxiety by dealing with the symptoms, when a symptom-first treatment plan does nothing but disguise the underlying problem. If you truly want to be free from stress and anxiety, you have to find the source.
What is it that causes anxiety in your life? Is it a poor relationship? Debt? Unhealthy habits? A job? By identifying the cause, you can figure out ways to deal with it and remove the stressor from your life.
- Get Some Exercise
Do you get enough physical exercise? Most people with chronic stress and anxiety find that they spend most of their time being inactive – which only exacerbates the problem.
“Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem,” the ADAA explains. “About five minutes of aerobic exercise can begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects.”
There are obviously hundreds of different exercise routines you can follow, but try getting at least 30 minutes of physical exercise five times per week. It’s also best if you can get this exercise outdoors, which is proven to elevate mood.
- Consume a Healthier Diet
Food won’t cure your anxiety, but it can make your body feel better in general. Whereas greasy or highly processed foods drag the body down, well-balanced meals with plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins are great for energy.
It’s also important that you eat regular meals. Skipping a meal can contribute to mood swings, which worsen the symptoms of stress and anxiety.
- Practice the Four As
“While stress is an automatic response from your nervous system, some stressors arise at predictable times – your commute to work, a meeting with your boss, or family gatherings, for example. When handling such predictable stressors, you can either change the situation or change your reaction,” says Lawrence Robinson of HelpGuide.org. “When deciding which option to choose in any given scenario, it’s helpful to think of the four As: avoid, alter, adapt, or accept.”
A lot of people use the “four A’s” to help them cope with daily stressors. The first one says you should avoid unnecessary stress. In other words, learn to say no when you can. If you can’t avoid it, try to alter it in some form or fashion. If the situation can’t be changed, then you’ll have to change yourself by adapting to the situation so that you can regain control. Finally, if nothing can be changed, it’s important that you’re able to accept the situation, cope with it, and move on.
- Spend More Time With Friends
The final healthy tip is to spend more time with friends. Being alone in a time of stress and anxiety isn’t good. It’ll cause you to mope around and wallow in self-pity. By surrounding yourself with people who care about you, it’s possible to talk through the problem and even forget it altogether. Laughter is always good, so make sure you’re doing things that you enjoy.
Start Your Career With Orion College
At Orion College, we get the chance to educate future leaders in the healthcare industry. If you’d like to learn more about our online programs and degree options, please contact us today. Our mission is to provide flexible education for busy adults; we’d love to discuss your future in more detail.